EDPO 578: Teaching Children of Poverty: Why Culture Counts                                                  4.5 CEUs

The following courses meet on two Saturdays each, from 8am to 4pm. Inter-session work is done online.

Ellsworth, Maine -- Moore Community Center, 133 State St.
April 7 and June 2, 2018

Augusta, Maine -- Viles Arboretum, 153 Hospital St.
April 28 and June 16, 2018

Portland, Maine -- Location TBA
May 6 and June 30, 2018



This course will help educators understand the complex challenges that poverty imposes on children’s capacity to learn and provides strategies for differentiating classroom instruction and providing opportunities to inspire and engage these students. Our schools are becoming more and more diverse, and educators are faced with economic, cultural and linguistic challenges in the classroom.  Topics on race, culture, diversity and poverty and the complexity of achievement gaps among racial and socioeconomic groups will be discussed.  An examination of the teacher’s own culture and its impact on student learning will be explored. Finally, educators will learn how to use tools and resources to foster and build resilience.

PLEASE NOTE: This is a hybrid course, meaning that for two weekends (at the beginning and end of the course), students will meet with the professor in person at a location above.  This course will run for 10 weeks. In between sessions, students will be in contact with the professor once weekly online. 

“When there is an environment of learning, one demonstrating that all students can really achieve beyond mediocrity, then everyone benefits. Differentiating instruction for all students forces the standard to rise: Students find themselves doing more, and teachers find themselves raising the bar and preparing for success.”

-- Rosilyn M. Carroll, Center for Excellence in Urban Teaching at Hamline University, St. Paul, Minnesota.



Why Culture Counts: Teaching Children of Poverty, Tileston, Donna Walker and Sandra K. Darling, Solution Tree Press, Bloomington, Indiana, 2008.

Teaching with Poverty in Mind: What Being Poor Does to Kids’ Brains and What Schools Can Do About It, Jensen, Eric, ASCD, Alexandria, VA, 2009.

Engaging Students with Poverty in Mind: Practical Strategies for Raising Achievement, Jensen, Eric, ASCD, Alexandria, VA, 2013.


  • At the end of this course, participants will:

• Demonstrate an understanding of the role of culture and poverty on learning.

• Understand and apply strategies to differentiate context, product and process for economically and culturally diverse learners.

• Build resilience in children of poverty and students from diverse cultures.

• Learn practical strategies for raising achievement.

• Create a plan for sustained teaching practice to diverse learners in their classroom.